Five-time winners, Zamalek, face a daunting task this weekend when they take on Libyan visitors, Ahly Tripol in Alexandria, as Group B enters homestretch.
Despite trailing the group with just five points, three shy of their guests; a win will see Zamalek progressing to the quarter finals, in case Caps United of Zimbabwe fails to win in Algeria against USM Alger in a simultaneous kickoff in Algiers.
Ahly Tripoli and USM Alger jointly lead the complicated looking group with eight points each, CAPS United has six and Zamalek in that order. All teams keep their qualification chances alive with the ultimate games in sight.
Zamalek suffered a severe blow last weekend when they lost 3-1 to CAPS United in Harare, taking the race for the quarter-finals down to the wire. The defeat brought much pressure on the Cairo-based club, and has made Portuguese coach Augusto Inacio’s future unknown.
The current situation has compelled Ckub chairman, Murtada Mansour, to rally the playing body to approach the ultimate fixture as if it was the CAF Champions League final.
It’s like a military mission and they have to be brave soldiers. We will do everything possible to win, and our players are capable, the outspoken Mansour told reporters earlier in the week.
Following a barren draw in their reverse fixture in Sfax, Tunisia last May, Ahly Tripoli will come to Egypt knowing that a same score line will see them into the quarter finals. They will be backing on their Egyptian born coach Talaat Youssef, who seems to know everything about Egyptian football, and Zamaek in particular.
We will play to win, Youssef told CAFOnline.com upon his team’s arrival in Alexandria.
A draw will see us through, but we can’t take the risk of just defending. We want to qualify to the next round, and will play with this in mind, he added.
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football